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For Offenders Who Can’t Pay, It’s a Pint of Blood or Jail Time

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posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 01:50 AM
I thought this subject might be best put here..... police state at its finest and of course in the U.S.

MARION, Ala. — Judge Marvin Wiggins’s courtroom was packed on a September morning. The docket listed hundreds of offenders who owed fines or fees for a wide variety of crimes — hunting after dark, assault, drug possession and passing bad checks among them.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” began Judge Wiggins, a circuit judge here in rural Alabama since 1999. “For your consideration, there’s a blood drive outside,” he continued, according to a recording of the hearing. “If you don’t have any money, go out there and give blood and bring in a receipt indicating you gave blood.”

For those who had no money or did not want to give blood, the judge concluded: “The sheriff has enough handcuffs.”

Efforts by courts and local governments to generate revenue by imposing fines for minor offenses, particularly from poor and working-class people, have attracted widespread attention and condemnation in recent months. But legal and health experts said they could not think of another modern example of a court all but ordering offenders to give blood in lieu of payment, or face jail time. They all agreed that it was improper.

“What happened is wrong in about 3,000 ways,” said Arthur L. Caplan, a professor of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, part of New York University. “You’re basically sentencing someone to an invasive procedure that doesn’t benefit them and isn’t protecting the public health.”

Reached by phone, Judge Wiggins said: “I cannot speak with you.”

The dozens of offenders who showed up that day, old and young, filed out of the Perry County courthouse and waited their turn at a mobile blood bank parked in the street. They were told to bring a receipt to the clerk showing they had given a pint of blood, and in return they would receive a $100 credit toward their fines — and be allowed to go free.

Carl Crocker, who was among those who owed money to the court, recounted seeing one older man pass out after his blood was taken. Another defendant, Traci Green, said that one young man became so angry about the choice he was given that he was taken out of the courtroom.

James M. Barnes Jr., a lawyer who was in the courtroom that morning, said, “I thought it was really unusual.”

“I don’t know whether it’s legal or not. I don’t know if that violates half the Constitution,” he said.

On Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed an ethics complaint against Judge Wiggins, saying he had committed “a violation of bodily integrity.” The group also objected to the hearing beyond the matter of blood collection, calling the entire proceeding unconstitutional.

Payment-due hearings like this one are part of a new initiative by Alabama’s struggling courts to raise money by aggressively pursuing outstanding fines, restitution, court costs and lawyer fees. Many of those whose payments are sought in these hearings have been found at one point to be indigent, yet their financial situations often are not considered when they are summoned for outstanding payments.

Several people who were at the hearing on Sept. 17 said they were unsure whether they were being ordered to pay the entire amount due or their usual monthly payment, which many had already been paying on time, often for offenses dating back a decade or more.

Mr. Green, 43, who owes thousands of dollars in connection with two marijuana-related convictions — one from 1998 — said he had offered to pay as much as he could but had been led to believe that he had to give blood anyway.

“He told us we got to go there and give some blood or we go to jail,” Mr. Green said. He said he had willingly given blood before but, like others there on that day, did not want to be compelled to do so.

Ordering defendants to give blood used to be more commonplace, particularly during wartime, according to “Flesh and Blood,” a history of blood transfusions and organ transplantation by Susan Lederer, a professor of medical history at Yale.

In the mid-20th century, judges in several places around the country, including Honolulu after the Pearl Harbor attack, ordered people convicted of traffic violations to give blood or offered blood donations as an alternative to a fine. More commonly, prisoners would receive cash incentives or reduced sentences for giving blood. (As late as 2008, a judge in Broward County, Fla., offered traffic offenders the choice of a fine, community service or a blood donation.)

But fears about the spread of hepatitis led to a broad move away from compensation for blood in the 1970s and to what has become a nearly all-volunteer blood donation system. While it is not illegal to pay someone for blood, the Food and Drug Administration does require that blood collected in exchange for compensation be labeled “paid,” and hospitals generally refuse such blood for transfusions.

Mr. Crocker, 41, who made the recordings of Judge Wiggins, also recorded the employees of the mobile blood bank, who seemed fully aware of the sentence-reduction arrangement. Mr. Crocker said he grew even more uncomfortable later, after he recognized the blood bank, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, which had recently lost a $4 million judgment for an H.I.V.-tainted blood transfusion.

“It’s just wrong for them to utilize people who are in the court system and essentially extort blood out of you because you owe traffic tickets, misdemeanors, felonies, whatever you’re there for,” Mr. Crocker said.

Jill Evans, a vice president for LifeSouth, which is based in Gainesville, Fla., said the employee who set up the blood drive with the courthouse had acted improperly because the employee understood ahead of time that the judge would reduce community service obligations for those willing to donate, a violation of company policy.

“We appreciate the judge’s attempt to support the community’s blood needs,” Ms. Evans said. “However, LifeSouth prohibits blood donations from being considered as community service because it is potentially an unacceptable incentive for a volunteer donor.”

Ms. Evans said that after receiving a complaint, LifeSouth quarantined and tested the blood, tried to contact all the donors and eventually discarded nearly all of the blood units collected.

The record at the county jail shows that no one was taken into custody that day. The court clerk said in a brief interview that there had been no intention of jailing anyone; Mr. Crocker said this was because everyone decided that having blood taken was better than going to jail.

However, Sara Zampierin, a lawyer at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that in the handful of instances she reviewed of people who gave blood, none had received the $100 discount they had been promised.


Giving the choice of paying a fine or giving blood? What's next? Kidney donation for $1,000.00 paid towards your bail?

edit on 20-10-2015 by DeathSlayer because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:08 AM
I'm honestly not sure what the big deal is here? Did I miss something?

Not trying to be a jerk. I don't understand what the concern is.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:15 AM
a reply to: WakeUpBeer

The people that were found guilty of something and had a fine to pay had three options:

1. pay the fine

2. donate some blood (possibly saving someone's life)

3. be put in handcufs and go to jail

Now, it seems to me that putting someone in jail that can't afford a fine is stupid. How much does it cost per day to keep someone locked up? Probably more than what their fine was for.

I can kind of understand people not wanting to choose between giving blood and jail. Not everyone likes needles, and not everyone is even eligible to donate blood due to tattoos, piercings, travel, or sexual orientation. So that alone makes it an unfair option in my book (I didn't see those reasons mentioned).

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:16 AM

originally posted by: WakeUpBeer
I'm honestly not sure what the big deal is here? Did I miss something?

Not trying to be a jerk. I don't understand what the concern is.

Well.... when making changes you would not start with the extreme but with gradual changes.... today a pint of blood for a traffic ticket, tomorrow maybe spinal fluid?

One of the reasons for paying debt, money was made; now you can pay with blood?

Does not sound like normal acceptable behaviour but very weird to even consider it.

Mankind has become so harden and uncaring maybe soon there will be live TV executions??
edit on 20-10-2015 by DeathSlayer because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:23 AM
Yeah, still not seeing any negative impacts.

It's optional. It's helpful.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:30 AM
I'd rather donate blood than pay a $75 traffic ticket. That pint or two of blood is probably worth more than $75 to someone who needs it.

But that's ME. I'd be OK with that.

Then again, as someone just mentioned -- it could become a slippery slope.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:34 AM
a reply to: DeathSlayer

I never give blood
The vampire zombie PTB can drink someone else's

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:36 AM
What if blood banks are a front to collect DNA...

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:41 AM
maybe it's just me but this sounds fairly reasonable.
i guess instead of blood you could force the offenders to do some community work?
the blood thing sounds a bit like pushing it too far.
but then again, you went to dish out money and or get arrested, but you got a fruit juice and a biscuit instead.
Not a bad day!

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 02:55 AM

originally posted by: MystikMushroom

So that alone makes it an unfair option in my book.

There was always the option of not committing the crime in the first place, of course.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:07 AM
Community service all the way. Mostly because not only do I have moral objections to forced bodily donations, but as a recipient, I was freaked out enough as it was about getting a blood transfusion, I don't think I could handle the thought of getting blood that was forced out of someone.

Besides, there are so many people who can't donate for reason not even mentioned in the article. I have a autoimmune related anemia. I wouldn't pass the hemoglobin test they do.

I know where i used to live, they had a community service program that refurbished things like bikes that people had donated, and then they would give them out to people. They also did things like restore playground equipment. Much better idea in my opinion.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:09 AM
a reply to: IShotMyLastMuse

if whatever the hell they did could apparently be righted by donating a pint of blood or shelling out a few bucks did they really need to be there in the first place?
personally i have no problem giving blood (and have done so) but ideally would like to know who the blood is going to
that may seem cold but some people just arent worth saving
and if im not mistaken there are religions that do not allow for medical procedures
all kinds of things

to make blood donations compulsory (and they were you donated blood or faced legal consequences....or paid a fine which many could not) is insane and tyrannical

the fact that there are people defending this is just mind boggling
for people so worried about the gubmint you dont seem to care too much about a judge essentially ordering people to literally give up their life blood

edit on 20-10-2015 by fartlordsupreme because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:10 AM
a reply to: lacrimoniousfinale

i can almost guarantee youve accidentally committed worse crimes than most of those people

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:11 AM
a reply to: lacrimoniousfinale

We're talking about post-criminality here. Penalties should be uniform and applied equally to one and all regardless of class, race, gender or sexual orientation.

We already have a horribly broken justice system where one person gets 5 years in prison for simple drug possession, and another person less than a year and some probation for running over and killing someone because of $$$.

And in any case, no one here is a perfect model citizen who never commits a crime.

Millions of people who declare themselves innocent law abiding citizens actually commit around seven crimes a week. The most common offences are speeding, texting or talking while driving, dropping litter, downloading music illegally or riding bicycles on the pavement. Other daily crimes include eating or drinking while driving, parking on pavements or not wearing a seatbelt. More than a third of people are not at all bothered by the fact they are breaking the law, with 58 per cent of those saying the crimes are minor. Another 20 per cent don't see them as being illegal because everyone else does it as well.


And that's the mild version. This guy thinks we commit even more crimes:

Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book "Three Felonies a Day," referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal.

Mr. Silverglate describes several cases in which prosecutors didn't understand or didn't want to understand technology. This problem is compounded by a trend that has accelerated since the 1980s for prosecutors to abandon the principle that there can't be a crime without criminal intent.

Its easy to sit on high moral horses and look down our noses at people with speeding tickets, seat belt violations, littering offenses and simple non-felony, and non-violent offenses. The fact is, someday any one of us might find ourselves on the other side of the law.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:23 AM
a reply to: MystikMushroom

What if blood banks are a front to collect DNA...

Bite your tongue, laddy !

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 03:39 AM
personally, i think anyone who wants my blood is a Vampyre. I just love Vamps, they're honest about what they want, they know how to 'get to the point' without wasting time and they're hillarious. Plus if they look anything like Oded Fehr hell ok they can have my plasma. 'chuckle'.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 05:37 AM
Shame on whoever's upset by that. Judge did a good deed.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 05:49 AM

originally posted by: WakeUpBeer
I'm honestly not sure what the big deal is here? Did I miss something?

Not trying to be a jerk. I don't understand what the concern is.

It sets a precedent for one. What next?

Somebody who does have an infection (Hepatitis, Herpes, Lymes's disease, Prions, HIV, Plasmodium, etc...) might not be willing to declare it, just so that they can avoid going to jail on that day.

posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 06:59 AM
Greetings and Salutations- I'd prefer the alleged violators pickup trash, clean a lake, read to kids, donate time at the animal shelter etc. etc.

When I worked in Law Enforcement the p.d. had their own "probation" and folks would work off their 'beefs' and it ran like a Swiss watch UNTIL::

The jail went "Private" When this happened the folks who would've received a Promise To Appear (PTA) were then booked into the PRIVATE jail where they were then given a PTA. This after the taxpayer got 'billed' for a "booking fee/processing fee/release fee". It is usually the horse manure charge w/a smaller fine that gets these folks the title of "Scofflaw" ..

Do some more research and see if the jails in these counties are 'private' or not. In some States there is a 'cottage industry' of attorneys that handle Your case for yet another fee...

Remember 95%+ are incarcerated under a "Plea Bargain" and the low income can't afford lawyer $$ so they continue to get raided upon. i.e. "Crack War" where the Urban male (read: black/other; non-voter) got Prison for rocking up their coc aine while the subUrban male (read: white; affluent; voter) received Probation.

Also don't forget in some States a conviction relieves You of Your Voting Privileges ..


posted on Oct, 20 2015 @ 08:12 AM

originally posted by: WakeUpBeer
Yeah, still not seeing any negative impacts.

It's optional. It's helpful.

It's not optional, read MystikMushroom's first reply. Not everyone has the option to give blood.

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